Cowboys News: Collins suspension gets confusing, fallout from Week 1 loss, measuring Dak’s greatness

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Hard to overshadow a barnburner of a game that featured 800-plus yards of offense and came down to a last-minute field goal in primetime, but La’el Collins may have done it. News of his five-game suspension rocked the Cowboys and the league late Friday, but it may not be a simple open-and-shut case. Representatives for Collins are arguing everything from an arbitrary and made-up punishment to the questionable way the announcement was made. The team, meanwhile will scramble to develop a Plan B they didn’t think they’d need… as an unfortunate streak for the Dallas O-line is about to be extended even further.

That still leaves plenty to dissect from the game itself, from Michael Gallup’s bad news to good news for NBC in the ratings department. Dak Prescott had a record-setting night of sorts, and he feels he’s not just back from his injuries but better. Greg Zuerlein breaks down how he booted this game away, and Brian Baldinger breaks down Micah Parsons in his first regular season action. All that, plus Tyron Smith shows himself to be an impenetrable fortress, Ezekiel Elliott strikes one pundit as excess baggage, and all the big moments and recaps of a wild Week 1 game… all in News and Notes.

How might the Cowboys replace La'el Collins? :: The Mothership

Link Mike McCarthy didn't have much time to prepare for questions about La'el Collins's suspension; the news broke just 90 minutes before his scheduled Friday press briefing. Thankfully, with Week 1's game already in the books, the club now has extra time to prepare for his 5-game absence. The coach shared no details about Collins's situation, nor was he ready to share his new plan at right tackle. "Ty [Nsekhe] and Terence [Steele] have both worked left and right tackle, so I feel very comfortable playing with those guys," he said, although Zack Martin could conceivably once again slide over to a tackle spot, too. "We want to be able to have as many combinations as possible," McCarthy explained.

Dallas Cowboys starting RT La'el Collins suspended five games :: ESPN

Link La'el Collins was handed a five-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. While Collins's exact infraction remains unknown, multiple sources have reported that he did not fail a drug test. Lawyers for Collins continued to appeal on his behalf as of Friday night, arguing that his particular violation of the policy allows for a fine but not a suspension, according to Ed Werder.

La’el Collins facing five-game suspension :: ProFootballTalk

Link Something to keep an eye on in the coming days regarding the suspension of La'el Collins: while an arbitrator has reportedly ruled against any appeal in the case, Collins and his representatives believe that his appeal rights have not been exhausted. They argue the suspension should not have been announced and may have been put in place prematurely.

Collins's suspension will extend an unfortunate streak for the Cowboys' O-line :: Jon Machota (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1436489497710104601

Report: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup to miss 3-5 weeks with calf strain :: Cowboys Wire

Link Dak Prescott didn't have his full arsenal of weaponry for long. Fourth-year wide receiver Michael Gallup left the game late in the third quarter with what was termed an ankle injury at the time and did not return. On Friday, it was announced that a calf strain would keep the talented pass-catcher out for three to five weeks. Cedrick Wilson saw extra snaps in Week 1 after Gallup's injury.

The Buccaneers vs. Cowboys game was the most-viewed NFL opener since 2015 :: CNBC

Link America's Team versus Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champs turned out to be good for ratings. Thursday night's season kickoff averaged a total of 26.0 million viewers, counting streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports app, and NFL digital platforms. It marked the most-watched TV show since February's Super Bowl LV.

Next Gen Stats: Dak Prescott's three least probable completions | Week 1 :: NFL.com

Link Dak Prescott started the 2021 season with a magical performance in Tampa. Next Gen Stats takes a closer look at his three most impressive tricks on the night, and all three were balls caught by Amari Cooper. Prescott's best? His 21-yard touchdown throw to Cooper to close out the third quarter had just a 30.3% chance of being completed.

'I'm a better player than I was:' Dak Prescott dazzles in Cowboys return :: Cowboys Wire

Link Dak Prescott didn't go into Thursday night's game planning to throw 58 passes, but that recent shoulder strain didn't prevent him from doing so with impressive accuracy. Couple that with his surgically-repaired ankle that proved to hold up beautifully to full-speed NFL tackling, and the veteran quarterback concluded, "I feel like I’m a better player than I was when I left the field" 11 months ago.

Prescott makes NFL history with Week 1 performance :: Elias Sports Bureau (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/EliasSports/status/1436326387607089152

Zuerlein takes blame for Cowboys' loss: 'If I do my job, we win that game' :: Cowboys Wire

Link Greg Zuerlein is coming off offseason back surgery and a training camp in which he did very little kicking for the Cowboys. Yet the veteran won't let rust be an excuse for missing two field goals and an extra point. In a game that was decided by two points, the seven that Zuerlein couldn't put on the board are a particularly tough pill to swallow for Cowboys fans.

Tyron Smith is back... and still good at football :: Pro Football Focus (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/PFF/status/1436330054900981761

If this is how the Dallas Cowboys are going to use Zeke Elliott, trade him to the Ravens :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Link Mac Engel didn't like what he saw when Ezekiel Elliott was toting the rock, going just 33 yards on 11 carries. To be fair, the two-time rushing champ spent a huge chunk of Thursday night in pass protection, but "if this is the way it’s going to be, and the Cowboys are just going to white flag the running game in the first quarter," he writes, "there is no reason for Zeke to be on this team."

Rookie Micah Parsons is already the Cowboys' best defensive player :: Brian Baldinger (Twitter)

https://twitter.com/BaldyNFL/status/1436356744255623180

Cowboys-Buccaneers game coverage :: Cowboys Wire

Miss anything from the season opener? Here's a recap of the key moments that went down at the pirate ship to kick off the 2021 schedule in dramatic fashion.

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